Bahamas, June 19, 2017 – Nassau – The NHI’s catastrophic care programme will begin the process to alleviate the massive financial burdens that families shoulder, Minister of Health Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands said.
The $40 million, which will be allocated to NHI for the 2017/18 Fiscal Year, will be carefully managed to cap expenditure on primary care to about $15 million and catastrophic care to $15 million, Dr. Sands explained during his Budget Contribution, Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
“We will cap the per patient benefit and specify the benefits.
“We will isolate the benefits from political interference and ensure value for patients and the public purse.”
The Health Minister added, “We will not damage existing industries and businesses, but seek partnerships in the delivery of care.”
He said the new Public Health Authority Board has been mandated to eliminate waste and inefficiency so that next year the Government would be able to commit as much as $100 million to the NHI programme.
Dr. Sands said contracts with existing providers and vendors will be reviewed and renegotiated.
“The NHI infrastructure will be downsized and made to function as a lean efficient team under the leadership of Dr. Delon Brennen.
“Many of the big ticket contracts for professional consultation and public relations will be dramatically reduced and redirected where possible to utilize local Bahamian expertise,” Dr. Sands said.
“We will re-engage local providers and stakeholders to develop a product which is less a political tool and more a national solution.”
He said this new shift forward on NHI starts immediately and the Government will be working quickly to ensure:
1. The broader acceptance of NHI and increase physician participation in the program to ensure that Bahamians can see the doctor of their choice and receive high quality healthcare.
2. That a robust catastrophic care program is managed fairly and free of political interference.
3. That a proper governance structure with a high-functioning board is put in place by the end of the first quarter.
“Looking ahead, NHI will need to be sustainably funded. The priority to achieving this is to aggressively pursue savings within the existing health system, and de-fund programs that are not providing value to Bahamian people. Longer-term sustainable financing measures will need to be identified as NHI provides value to Bahamians and expands its benefits.”
He noted that Bahamians pay enormous amounts for healthcare now and do not get the same value for money spent as certain other countries.
The Health Minister said before this administration demands a tax, levy or contribution above or beyond what is already collected, the Government must and will ensure that waste and inefficiency are cut out of the system.
“Let us remember that NHI is a social programme that is more than three decades in the making in The Bahamas, and one that has continued to evolve across administrations.
“This administration will continue its implementation but in a way that is sustainable, collaborative and increasingly more focused on the catastrophic episodes that can bankrupt families,” Dr. Sands said.